February 27, 2018

Link: The #1 Reason Facebook Won’t Ever Change ☍

Om Malik:

Facebook’s (much deserved) media nightmare continued this week when it came under criticism for spamming members who signed up for two-factor authentication. This was followed by charges that its Protect VPN software (based on its Onava CDN) was essentially corporate spyware. The collective outrage over Facebook and its actions might result in a lot of talk, but it won’t really change Facebook, its ethos, and its ethics. Let me explain!

A few years ago, I wrote that companies have a core genetic profile and it is tough for them to deviate from it. That DNA defines every action, reaction, and a strategic move made by a company. The DNA represents a company’s ethos — and to a large extent, its ethics. Microsoft was and will always be a desktop software company, albeit one that is doing its best to adapt to the cloud and data-centric world. It has turned its desktop offerings into smart revenue streams on the cloud.

I fully subscribe to this core-genetic-profile argument, and looking at all the moves lately, Facebook is desperately trying to get us all back on.

Link: Bored People Quit ☍

Rands with an oldie, but goodie:

You call on the motivation and retention police because you believe they can perform the legendary “diving save”. Whether it’s HR or a well-intentioned manager with a distinguished title, these people scurry impressively. Meetings that go long into the evening are instantly scheduled with the disenfranchised employee.

It’s an impressive show of force, and it sometimes works, but even if they stay, the damage has been done. They’ve quit, and when someone quits they are effectively saying, “I no longer believe in this company”. What’s worse is that what they were originally thinking was, “I’m bored”.

Boredom is easier to fix than an absence of belief.

Even though this post was written in 2011, I came across it recently and it had me thinking about all the frustrating and annoying things in the world of technology. Granted, this can be applied to an even larger scope, but there’s a lot of companies that were once mighty that even as a customer (or user), I’m finding myself no longer believing in. In another way, you may have noticed some silence on this site for about the past month—outside of the HomePod launch, there just hasn’t been much that has interested me. This site isn’t going anywhere, but a little hiatus from time to time can be a good thing.

February 1, 2018

News: Apple Reports Q1 Results

Apple announced financial results for its fiscal 2018 first quarter ending December 30, 2017. In the conference call, Apple posted a quarterly revenue of $88.3 billion and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $3.89…

January 20, 2018

Article: Thoughts on BMW’s Decision to Charge Subscription for CarPlay

Earlier this week, BMW announced that CarPlay would be treated as a yearly subscription option on 2019 and newer vehicles. Previously, it was always a $300 option on cars, in contrast with many manufacturers who include it with all models or at least a certain trim level or higher. I think this move is consumer-hostile, hope it doesn’t become a trend across the industry, and have moved BMW to my “never” list for future vehicles…

January 10, 2018

Link: Thoughts on Kids and Apple Devices ☍

Yesterday, John Gruber shared an story about an open letter from two of the biggest investors on Wall Street asking Apple to study the health effects of its products and to make it easier for parents to limit their children’s use of iPhones and iPads:

This open letter is getting a lot of attention, but to me, the way to limit your kids’ access to devices is simply, well, to limit their access to devices. I’m sure iOS’s parental controls could be improved (and in a statement, Apple claims they have plans to do so), but more granular parental controls in iOS are no substitute for being a good, involved parent.

Naturally, Gruber received a lot of negative responses to this comment, but I can’t say I disagree with him. The whole discussion made me think back to my childhood and all the tempting electronic gadgets that were around the house and how even when I was home alone, I understood the expectations (for context, I didn’t have a super-strict upbringing and did get into my share of trouble). Unsurprisingly, I was quite proficient with and interested in computers from a young age, but still wasn’t rushing to play games the second I got home from school. We also didn’t have to lock down everything where I’d need something like a gas-station-bathroom-key to get on the computer.

A number of commenters seemed to overlook the fact that Gruber is agreeing that Apple could improve parental controls. Personally, I think any improvements in that area are welcome, especially for blocking inappropriate content. However, there have been too many instances where iOS devices (and Android devices, too) are handed to a kid as some sort of babysitter and only after this becomes a problem, parents start demanding a way to undo bad behaviors. A few years back, I recall a family going out to eat at a restaurant and the two kids were deeply engrossed with their iPads—in my childhood, I recall that dining out was sort of treated as a special event, and in the 10-15 minutes of time before the food was brought out, we interacted as a family. In that example, the iPads probably shouldn’t have left the car or even the house.

I wonder if the bigger question is the role social media plays when coupled with these devices, but Apple is the bigger target for this discussion to gain momentum. A few more parental controls or finding that yes, Apple devices are addictive to only kids and not everyone isn’t going to fix the issue. It’s up to each family to set expectations and develop good habits, assisted with software on the devices, Wi-Fi router, or cellular provider.

By the way, I hate that the the open letter starts with a pop-up forcing you to agree to the terms before viewing it.